Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Quit Bashing Estheticians! March 26, 2010

I’ve mentioned before in this blog how Dr. Leslie Baumann, a very well-known Miami based dermatologist who writes a blog I like a lot (The Skin Guru on Yahoo! Health) continually bashes estheticians.  And certainly Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop who I wrote about in a previous blog entry, has little love for estheticians as well.  So yesterday when I received my weekly email newsletter from Paula Begoun’s website I immediately paid attention since the main part of the newsletter was devoted to the following topic:  “Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Get a Facial“.  I’ll excerpt the relevant part of the newsletter here:

Whether or not you get a facial depends on many factors but primarily it is all about the aesthetician and the claims made about the procedures they offer. Often facials are nothing more than a series of masks and fancy machines that provide no benefit for skin other than feeling relaxing and knowing you’re being pampered. Claims of getting rid of wrinkles, de-stressing, healing, oxygenating, detoxifying, and curing acne abound, yet almost without exception those services are a waste of time and money. However, there are services a well-trained aesthetician can provide that make facials a helpful adjunct to your at-home skin-care routine. Here’s what you need to know.

5 Reasons to Get a Facial

  • A well-trained, licensed aesthetician can introduce you to a sensible skin-care routine (hint: it should NEVER be an expensive routine and to be 100% sure you’re getting the best products you need to check The Cosmetics Cop Team’s review on or you will be guaranteed to hurt your skin and budget).
  • If you have blackheads or blemishes, especially stubborn ones, an aesthetician can extract them for instant relief
  • In medically-supervised spas, an aesthetician can perform a chemical peel for improved skin tone, coloration, and texture
  • A well-trained aesthetician can perform calibrated microdermabrasion that bests the type of manual exfoliation possible at home
  • Facials can be a welcome respite from the stresses of daily life, provided the products being used are appropriate for your skin type and concerns

5 Reasons to Avoid Facials

  • If you have acne facials can make them worse if the esthetician doesn’t know what they are doing. Facials can make matters worse due to such treatments as steaming and over-aggressive squeezing that encourage inflammation and redness. And almost all spa brands for acne are poorly formulated.
  • If you have a skin disorder such as rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis. A typical facial cannot address these conditions and will almost always make them worse.
  • If you’re overly susceptible to hype and too-good-to-be-true claims, which run rampant in most spas don’t get a facial. Applying a series of masks isn’t going to purify or detoxify your skin or get rid of your wrinkles or pores.  
  • If the aesthetician doesn’t seem highly trained (ask some basic skin care questions to help determine this) or the spa doesn’t appear scrupulously clean.

If you expect galvanic or microcurrent devices are going to work miracles for your skin. They don’t work in this manner, and there’s no published research to the contrary. 

Much to my great surprise I actually agree with most of what Paula Begoun wrote about facials.  As much as I hate to admit it there are a few bad estheticians out there, but I will temper that statement by also saying that poorly trained estheticians are definitely the exception and not the rule.  The other estheticians that I know are dedicated and educated and really care about providing their clients with great service and advice.   Yes, many spas do make slightly outrageous claims about both their products and services.  Personally I believe in under promising and over delivering.  I want my clients to be happy with the service they received and the results.  Otherwise, why would they come see me again?

As for the final statement about galvanic and microcurrent devices not working I think there is a lot more room for debate on that issue than Begoun hints at.  There is a reason those machines have been used for as long as they have.  The issue is not as black and white as she makes it out to be.

I think one of the main components of getting a facial is enjoying the atmosphere of the spa you are at and having a positive interaction with your esthetician.  Those two components are subjective to say the least and guidelines just won’t help determine how you feel.  Above all, when getting a facial you need to feel relaxed, comfortable, and well taken care of.


4 Responses to “Quit Bashing Estheticians!”

  1. Pam Says:

    I agree. I only go for pore-cleansing facials since I need those more than pampering ones. I’m also very particular because I’m technically capable of cleaning my own pores, but it’s not as effective or relaxing to do on myself. I’ve finally found a salon with skilled estheticians, ambiance, and sinks in each room (places I’ve worked at didn’t have sinks in each room).

    For clients that question the need for facials, I use this comparison: People brush their teeth twice a day and need a dentist/hygienist for deeper cleaning; people wash their face twice a day and need an esthetician for deeper cleaning.

  2. Amanda Says:

    Could you please elaborate a little on galvanic and micro-current devices? What are they exactly and what skin conditions might they be good for?
    Thank you! 🙂

    • Galvanic current is used to create two different reactions in the skin. The first reaction is a chemical reaction or disincrustation and the second one is ionic or iontophoresis.
      For disincrustation the galvanic current is used to create a chemical reaction that emulsifies oil and debris in the pores. It helps to soften and relax the skin before extractions so that it is easier to perform the extractions. So disincrustation is beneficial for oily, congested, and acne skin.
      Iontophoresis helps introduce water-soluble products into the skin using the electric current. The electric current helps the esthetician penetrate products such as creams and serums deeper into the skin than by simply massaging the product into the skin.
      I’ve used galvanic technology many, many times and find that it is helpful.
      Microcurrent machines use wave therapy to mimic the way the brain relays messages to the muscles. These machines helps stimulate motor nerves until a visible muscle contraction can be seen. Microcurrent is said to help aid in the healing and repairing of the tissue and to influence metabolism and cellular activity. Results may include a more firm skin appearance and healthier skin. It is used as part of an anti-aging regime. Truthly, I’ve never used this machine and don’t know anyone who has.
      I hope this information answers your question.

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